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Family is First

by Audrey Yu 5 months ago in fiction
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A wife protects herself and her children from an obsessed stalker by all means necessary.

The sound of Charlie barking cut through her sleep, rousing Evelyn instantly. Her eyes shot open to be greeted with complete darkness in her empty bedroom. Charlie’s bark was incessant, she knew instantly that it wasn’t a cat or possum that she was warding off. The time read 3:14 am on her phone as she accessed her security cameras. Her heart sank as she realized that the backyard camera had been compromised! The footage from her backyard cameras shows a figure in a grey hoodie and ripped faded jeans approaching the lens before the camera was moved to face the fence on the far side.

Her body grew hot with rage as she caught a glimpse of the intruder: Ian Shultz. He used to be a colleague of hers at the law firm that they worked at. The two of them had been up for an impressive case last month and it was ultimately given to her instead of him. He’d given her a flat congratulations only to quickly accuse her of sleeping with their manager to win his favor and the case. An obvious lie, everyone who knew Evelyn would say that she was a devoted wife and loving mother to her two children.

He didn’t stop at the accusations, however. When she refused to argue with his petty claims, he threatened to smear her name throughout the whole office. In exchange for not smearing her name, he offered to “let her” sleep with him since “she obviously fucks whoever she wants anyway.” She promptly arranged a fake meeting time with him later that evening and immediately called their supervisor to report his misconduct. With the help of her ring camera that was hidden in her office, she was able to provide more than enough proof to back up her accusations.

The next morning, he stormed into her office enraged that she’d stood him up. Within minutes, his position at the law firm had been terminated and he was escorted from her office. When she went home that day, she’d made sure that her security system and cameras were all working as they should be. As a woman in a successful position and a husband who was a hard-working police officer, she knew how to take precautions and protect herself and her loved ones.

The recording had been made useless just three minutes prior. Evelyn moved carefully from her bed, listening intently. Charlie wasn’t barking anymore. Ian had moved quickly, in just a few weeks he’d managed to figure out where she lived and had watched her enough to know that her husband, Jensen would have the night shift tonight. She hoped that he’d brought something for Charlie to keep her occupied. That stalker psycho!

Evelyn moved to the space behind her bed where her handgun was. Her fingers wrapped around the cold metal as the sound of shattering glass reached her ears. Ian was inside the house now. As she stood from the bed, armed with the handgun, she drew in a shaky breath while she dialed 911.

“911, what’s your emergency?”

“My name is Evelyn Rodgers. My address is 4352 43rd St in Sacramento. There is someone in my house.” She whispered.

“Ma’am, are you the only one home right now?”

“No, my two children are still sleeping. I can’t stay here. Send someone!” She hissed as she listened intently to the footsteps downstairs. She tossed her phone on the bed before she ran to her bedroom door. Cracking it slightly, she peered out, listening for Ian. He was still downstairs, looking for valuables. He didn’t know he’d woken her up yet. Evelyn moved quickly to her son, Dean’s room. Dean was just four years old, and in scenarios like this, Evelyn was thankful that he slept deeply. Evelyn scooped her boy into her arms with ease, careful to keep him wrapped up in his blanket. “Momma?”

“Hush, sweetie. I need you to be quiet,” she whispered, slipping out of his bedroom to cut to her daughter, Amelia’s room. Amelia was nine, Evelyn had only been twenty-four when she’d had her. Miraculously, she’d managed to keep her reputation going as she went through the pregnancy and was lucky enough to be welcomed back to the same firm when she returned from maternity leave. She shook her daughter awake, “Mom, what’s going on?” She whined.

“Shh, there’s someone in the house!”

Amelia’s face paled when she processed the words, “What?”

“Shh, baby. I need you to take your brother and follow me. We have to be quiet!” Amelia took Dean in her arms while Evelyn listened for Ian’s movements. To her dismay, she could hear him begin the stairs. We have to hurry!

“Ames, take my hand!”

Evelyn tugged her children from the room, nearly pushing them inside the master bedroom, just in time for Ian to come to the second-floor landing. She locked the bedroom door behind her, securing the three of them inside. “Mommy?” Amelia whined.

“Why are we out of bed?” Dean wondered.

“Through the bathroom, hide in the closet. Don’t you two come out for anything, no matter what you hear!” Evelyn offered Amelia her phone to her free hand. “You don’t come out until you hear me say our code phrase.”

Amelia nodded, “Family is first.” Dean said sleepily, rubbing his eyes.

“That’s my-”

“Evelyn, my dear… don’t you think it’s time you greeted your guest?” Ian’s voice called out down the hall from their room.

“Go!” Evelyn begged, pushing her children. “Lock the door behind you!”

Her heart was pounding as she took in a shaky breath. The bastard had known he’d woken her up all along, he just wanted to play her again. Where are the police!?

As the sound of the bathroom door lock clicked, Evelyn pulled the handgun from her waistband. It was an M&P Shield Pistol, ordered special for her because she’s left-handed. It had been a birthday gift from her wonderful husband when she’s gotten pregnant because of the permanent change in her life and the sense of vulnerability that came with motherhood. While she’d handled firearms before and was comfortable with them, this one was the one that would become her first use of protection against anyone who would attempt to hurt her or her family. Evelyn moved silently, her back to the wall next to the bathroom door, facing her closed bedroom door. She could hear his sauntering footsteps approach.

“Evelyn, dear-”

“Do not call me ‘dear!’” She barked, aiming the firearm at the door.

“Aww, why not, Evie? That’s what your husband calls you, right?” He purred. He was right outside the door now.

“It doesn’t matter what Jensen calls me.” She said curtly.

She could hear him chuckle, “You know…it’s a shame you had to go and wake your kids…up for this. I certainly hope they’re not in the room…when I finally get to you.” He said, a single hard knock on the door with every pause.

She couldn’t help but smirk as she cocked her gun, clear as a bell in the silent house. “What exactly do you think you’re going to accomplish if you breakdown that door?” She seethed.

“Oh! Evelyn, my sweet, I think you’ve misunderstood my intention here.”

Her gaze drifted down to see the shadows of his foot under the door frame. I know where you are now, Ian. “And I think you’ve forgotten that invading a home and forcibly having sex with the wife is still rape.” She replied sweetly, approaching the door. She wouldn’t be able to afford a misfire.

He chuckled at that, “Aww, darling. This isn’t forced. You promised me, remember?”

She gritted her teeth at the memory, recalling how she’d had to hide her true thoughts to make him believe that she’d meet him that night. Ian had always been a snake. The mere thought of him touching her made her skin crawl. “Oh, Ian. Don’t be naive. I lied to get you to leave me alone.” She could have fired a long time ago, but she was still waiting for the police to arrive. She had her children to worry about too. It would be better if she wasn’t the one to incapacitate him.

She heard a scraping on the door, she could only assume it was a knife. “Maybe after I’ve fucked you, I’ll finally get to meet your sweet little kids. Amelia’s always looked just like you… So young…so innocent…I bet she’d do exactly what I asked of her.”

Evelyn’s mind went black as she pulled the trigger, firing three shots. She could hear Dean whimpering and Amelia’s little cries behind her. Her sensory intake was overwhelmed. The smell of gunpowder, the dull sound of Ian falling back, shouting obscenities at her through the splintered door, the flashing red and blue lights outside. They’re here.

“You bitch! You fucking shot me!” Ian bellowed.

Evelyn wasted no time, flinging open the bedroom door to find Ian had stumbled back a few feet into the hallway, clutching his chest. Three entry wounds spattered his chest: one in his right shoulder and two in his torso. Her eyes narrowed at him as she studied this pathetic heap of a man who lay before her. Being a lawyer, it was obvious that he was educated, but he was certainly not intelligent. He’d given her the creeps since the moment they met, but the two of them sometimes work side by side on cases. He’d already built an impressive reputation, but it was rumored that it was possible to bribe him to skew cases a certain way. When the two of them were up for the promotion, it largely fell in her favor because she wasn’t someone who could be bribed or skewed any way but the eyes of the law and the criminal justice system.

It hadn’t surprised her when it was announced that she’d been given the promotion, but his wickedly jealous behavior had caught her off guard somewhat. To have an adult act so belligerently is always a surprise to her.

Her brow furrowed as she noticed the bottom of his hoodie soaked in blood. He chuckled maliciously, “She was a beautiful dog.”

The police were pounding on the door now, “POLICE! OPEN UP!”

Evelyn moved closer, careful to keep the gun aimed at his chest. “Don’t fucking move.”

He laughed weakly, “What’s the matter, Rodgers? You’re afraid of killing a man?” He challenged, his smirk stained with blood now. More pounding on the door.

“POLICE! WE’RE COMING IN!”

She smirked, “You’re bleeding out on my floor, don’t get cocky, Shultz.”

The door flew open, “Mrs. Rodgers?!”

“Up here!” She called out.

“Are you alone?”

“I have the intruder. My children are locked in the master bathroom.” She informed, never taking her eyes off Ian.

An officer named Ryan Bentley found her first, “Evelyn, what happened?!” He wasn’t Jensen’s partner, but he was very familiar with both of them.

“This fucker probably killed my dog, broke into my house, and threatened to hurt me and my children if I didn’t comply with him.”

“Do you know this man, Evelyn?” Asked another officer, who now had his sights on Ian as well, allowing her to finally lower her guard.

“His name is Ian Shultz. He’s an old colleague of mine, Officer Daniels. He was fired after spreading rumors of mine and threatening not to stop unless I slept with him.”

Officer Daniels nodded, “Go make sure the kids are okay and get their statements, I’ve got him.” Daniels said to his partner, Bentley.

Ryan Bentley walked with her to the bathroom door, “Ames? Dean? Are you okay in there?” Evelyn breathed.

“Mommy, what’s happening?” Amelia asked tearfully.

“It’s okay, baby girl. You can come out now. Family is first.” She said.

Immediately, the lock clicked and Amelia and Dean burst through the door, collapsing into her arms. “Mommy, I was so scared!” Dean cried, burying his tear-stained face into her chest.

She stroked his soft hair, “I know baby, but you two were so brave! I’m proud of you two!”

Amelia clutched her mother tightly, “I heard those loud noises and…”

“I know, I’m sorry I scared you, baby. You’re safe now.” Evelyn stood slowly, holding Dean in one arm and Amelia’s hand in the other. “Does Jensen know?”

Bentley shook his head, “It’s the protocol to not call the spouse until the aggressor’s been apprehended. I’m sure Daniels will be calling soon.”

She nodded, “Right, of course.”

“Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you and your children some questions about what happened tonight,” Bentley said.

Evelyn breathed a sigh, “Sure, but I’m not sure my kids will be much help, they were hiding for most of it.”

“Of course, but I’d still like to get hear what they have to say.”

“Will you tell the nice officer what happened tonight?” Evelyn asked her children.

Amelia nodded slowly, “Yes.”

“It was scary,” Dean mumbled.

“Why don’t we go downstairs for this?” Evelyn offered, “I can make us some coffee and the kids can watch some cartoons after they’ve given their accounts.”

“Great.”

“I have a ring camera in the hallway that caught some audio footage, as well. I’ll send it to you.” She glanced at her watch: 3:32

Thirty-six minutes later, Officer Bentley had taken Evelyn and the kids’ statements down. An ambulance had taken Ian to the hospital to be treated for his wounds before he would be placed in jail for his crimes against Evelyn and her family. Officer Bentley was sitting with Evelyn at the dining table while Dean and Amelia lay sleeping on the couches with late-night cartoons playing softly in the dim light. Officer Daniels stood at the kitchen island, sipping some coffee. Charlie, the beautiful family dog had been the only loss for the family, the two officers had helped Evelyn wrap her in her favorite blanket and left her in the empty garage to hide from the children.

The sound of Jensen pulling into the drive put a surge through her body, instantly pulling her from the chair and towards the front door. She flung open the front door to find her husband crossing their front lawn. Seeing the fear on his face turn to relief, it was like a switch turned in her brain.

She broke down, collapsing into his arms and bringing them to their knees, “What happened?! Are you guys okay?!”

“Yes, the kids are fine. No one got hurt,” she responded tearfully.

His fingers brushed her hair, “Oh, thank God!”

“Jensen…” she mumbled, “Charlie’s dead, he killed her because she wouldn’t stop barking.”

Her husband sighed, “Do the kids know?”

“No, the officers helped me put her in the garage for now.

He nodded, “Okay, good. They’ve been through enough tonight.”

She pulled back to face him, “Baby, it was that fucker who tried to spread rumors about me. He must have wanted revenge. It’s my fault, I’m so sorry,” she whimpered.

His brow furrowed, “What? No, Evie! None of this is your fault, you protected our family when I couldn’t,” he assured, brushing her cheek.

She took in a shaky breath, “I love you so much,” she said, burying her face in his chest.

“I love you too, baby,” he said, “Come on, let’s get inside.” The pair entered the house hand-in-hand to find the two officers standing in the kitchen. “Is there anything you need from me, Officers?” Jensen asked.

Officer Daniels shook his head, “No, sir. The perpetrator was caught and taken to the hospital to be treated for his wounds before he can be taken to jail to await a trial. Your property has been searched and the only thing wrong was that he moved your back door security camera, but I made sure it was corrected. Your home is secure.”

Jensen nodded, “Thank you, Daniels and Bentley, for protecting my wife and children.”

Bentley smirked, “We are happy to help, but we hardly did anything. Your wife put three rounds in him before we had the door open.”

Jensen looked at his wife with a smile, “That’s my girl,” he said, giving her hand a squeeze.

“Daddy?” Amelia’s head poked over the couch.

“Hey, love bug,” Jensen moved to greet his daughter.

Officer Daniels cleared his throat, “We should go. I know that it’s been a long and scary night, but try to get some sleep. Your family is safe, Mrs. Rodgers.”

She smiled, “Thank you very much,” she said, shaking the two officers’ hands as they departed.

Evelyn slid the lock on the front door behind the officers, breathing a sigh as the adrenaline faded and her energy was suddenly drained. She’d been through Hell tonight, but she was thankful that her children hadn’t seen most of it. When she made it to the couch, Jensen was stroking Amelia’s hair to calm her, “I know you’ve had a scary night, but you’re safe now. You can tell me all about it in the morning.”

“Okay, Daddy.”

“Come on, let's go to bed,” he said, taking her hand.

While Jensen walked Amelia to bed, Evelyn carefully scooped up Dean in her arms while he still slept. All the way up to his room and tucked safely in bed, she gave him a kiss on the forehead, “We love you, sweet boy.”

Finally, she entered the bedroom to find Jensen changing out of his uniform. She came up behind him, wrapping her arms around his middle, “I’m so happy you’re home.” She said quietly.

He smiled as he turned to face her, “I’m so happy you’re safe,” he said, kissing her sweetly. “I love you, thank you for protecting our family.”

“And I love you. Thank you for coming home to us.”

fiction

About the author

Audrey Yu

Once upon a time, I was a creative writing major in college. Plagued with writer's block and the fear of not having a guaranteed steady income, I now study forensic psychology for criminal analytics and write in my limited spare time!

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